What is 404 Backlink Building?
Our resident SEO Specialist, Christian, talks through some basics of SEO, and dives deep into backlink building—specifically with a strategy to build backlinks off of 404 errors on other sites. Curious how that works? Tune in.
Pacifico Mexican Lager
Bottle of Pacifico
This is the easiest of all of our recipes, but Christian is a no-nonsense man when it comes to his libations.
- Acquire a bottle of Pacifico Beer
- Open bottle of Pacifico Beer
- Enjoy bottle of Pacifico Beer
Rich: [00:00:00] Welcome to cocktails, tangents and answers. Uh, I'm your host, Rich Mackey,
Catelin: and I am your co-host Catelin Drey
Rich: wonderful to have you guys along with us for the ride today. So let's get right into it. Our first, uh, thing in our name obviously is cocktail. Um,
Catelin: Is a cocktail, the most important is that why it's first?
Rich: Um, I don't know if it's the most important, I think for us, it's definitely the first thing that we need to be able to sit down and do these podcasts.
Catelin: That makes sense. So it's like a step one as opposed to a priority.
Rich: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think step one versus priority one, that makes a lot of sense to me.
So, um, so on that note, um, what is our cocktail for today?
Catelin: This week we are drinking Pacifico. It is a Mexican Pilsner and it's in the honor of our guest, Christian Cabney
Rich: Okay so technically that's a beer, not a cocktail.
Catelin: It's actually a beer and not a cocktail,
Rich: Right, at least I didn't say [00:01:00] literally. Okay. So we're going to let it ride though. Cause it's an alcoholic beverage, so, but alcoholic beverages, tangents and answers just made, it was too long, way too much. Um, okay, so
Catelin: I think the URL was taken too
Rich: yeah. Interesting. I doubt that, but okay. Maybe it was, um, so tell us a little bit more about Pacifico. Like,
Catelin: uh, it's a crisp Pilsner and I actually had my first Pacifico way back in 2010 when I was living abroad in Honduras
Rich: Uh, okay. Um, that feels like a tangent. We should explore more deeply. I don't know if we have time today, but I'm going to like, look over here to my left, to Zac, our producer, and tell him to bookmark that in his brain. And at some point in a future episode, we need to dive deeper into this. Yeah, just, just dropping. Oh. When I lived in Honduras. Uh, but interesting. So yeah, so Honduras is just south of Mexico. So Mexican imported beers make total sense for [00:02:00] Honduras.
Catelin: I don't know that there's a distillery or a brewery in Honduras, so they, they use their resources.
Rich: That's something we could Google at some point. Right. All right. So speaking of Google, um, I think we want to get into our topic for today. Um, we're going to talk back links. So, um, backlinks, as I think you and I were talking earlier, you had a very simple definition of what a backlink is, right?
Catelin: It's just a link on a site other than yours, back to your website.
Rich: Exactly. So that's a backlink and today our guest is going to be Christian Cabney. He's a marketing specialist here at Antidote 71. And not only is he, um, he's great at SEO in general. Uh, he kinda dove deep into backlinks through a course he took and has a huge passion for them.
Catelin: It's unbelievable how excited he gets about backlinks. And it's hard to ruffle Christians feathers. Like he's pretty, he stays in his lane. He doesn't get excited about much. So, uh, I'm really excited to [00:03:00] hear what he has to say about backlinks
Rich: Yeah so a little bit about Christian before we get into his interview. So he's um a super chill dude. Um, very quiet, probably I think, safe to say the most introverted in our office.
Rich: Um, I would put him at, you know, sort of that spinal tap. Uh, he turns introversion up to 11 at least, um, But when you get him talking about something he enjoys talking about, or you get to know him, um, obviously his first couple of days on the job, he was very, very quiet. Um, he's getting a little bit more, more chatty kind of these days. And he's got a couple of friends who, who work in the office with him, but when you get him talking about a subject like backlinks and you'll notice like, You just can't get him to shut up.
Like there's so much going on with it and he's got so much passion for it. Um, and he starts to dive deep. So backlinks are one of the places where if you're looking at like, sort of a T skillset where like the top of the T things, you sort of know about like Honduran beers or beers to drink in Honduras and the depth of the T or [00:04:00] places where you really know a ton about, um, backlinks are definitely one of his T things.
Um, and so in this episode, we will talk to him about not only just backlinks, but a special kind of, backlink called a 404 backlink or a broken backlink
Catelin: Just like I said, really excited to hear Christian's expertise on this. Uh, get to hear a little bit more about his deep dive passion.
Rich: Yeah. Um, and not a lot of tangents with Christian. I don't know as though there'll be a whole lot of tangents in this interview because he's not really a tangent kind of guy,
Catelin: It could be because he doesn't like to say much...Ever. And so he stuck to his notes, which hopefully is really helpful.
Rich: Yeah. I mean, his notes are fantastic. Um, I've seen them, we've seen this put into practice for clients, uh, and the way he does things.
So hopefully you'll grab a few tips out of this, um, we'll end the episode with a quick tip. So something that you could implement today on your own without an agency. Uh, without having to go to anybody or anyone with any deeper expertise [00:05:00] than just hearing the information and the quick tip, um, but all along the way, um, the tips that Christian gives as well, definitely take notes and keeps those down.
And if you need help, obviously, you know, a marketing agency, an SEO specialist can help with those, uh, whether they're in-house or out of house. Uh, so with that, I think, uh, unless you've got anything else going on over there
Catelin: nothing related. So I think it's safe to turn it over to christian.
Rich: All right. So we'll save tangents for a later day, uh, and we'll turn it over to our interview with Christian Cabney, the marketing specialist at antidote 71, talking back links.
All right. So I'm here today with a Christian Cabney digital marketing specialist here at Antidote 71. And we're going to talk backlinks. So there's a lot we can talk about in SEO. Um, Christian has this kind of passion for back links. It's this weird thing that a lot of people avoid, um, but he's kind of dove into it deeply.
So, Christian, uh, [00:06:00] welcome. First of all, and, uh, tell me what a backlink is. What does that term even mean?
Christian: So a back link is pretty much any link that comes from an external website. That's not your own and it points toward your website. So to kind of gives you an example to help better understand what it is. So let's say you own like a commercial roofing company and Forbes writes an article over, um, commercial roofing materials and they take an excerpt from your website. And they put that directly on their article and then link that directly to your website. That would be called a back link. And that's a pretty quality backlink.
Rich: Ok so what makes that a quality backlink, Forbes?
Christian: Yeah Forbes, first thing. Yes, since they come, they're a really high and reputable site. They have a lot of links pointing to them already.
So that gives them pretty high authority, which we'll get into later. but because of that, I mean, it pretty much transfers their domain authority to your domain just through that backwards.
Rich: Oh that's pretty cool. So you're kind of getting into it a little bit with like authority and things, but why do backlinks matter for SEO? Why does Google care about other people linking to my website? [00:07:00]
Christian: So as of 2021, backlinks are a direct Google ranking factor for how Google chooses, who shows up first on Google search engine results pages. So, because of that, when you're conducting SEO, backlinks are pretty important. Um, it shouldn't be the only thing, the only thing that you put your effort towards an SEO, but it should be something that, um, you actually go out and try to get some quality backlinks and all it'll help you rank high.
And, um, when Google sees that. They'll see that you have a pretty good website, then they'll rank you pretty high in search engine results pages.
Rich: Okay. So a lot of good websites linking back to my website, make my website look better. So it's kind of like when you've got a lot of super cool friends, you just look cooler by hanging out with them pretty much.
Yeah. Interesting. Um, So our backlink is hard to do. Like, it sounds like it's probably not the easiest thing in the world to get, you know, Forbes, stilling back to you or some random other site that's got good quality link back.
Christian: Yeah. I'd say it's pretty, time-consuming, it's pretty hard to get pretty high backlinks to your website, but in the end it's [00:08:00] pretty rewarding.
Rich: So what are the easiest ones? Like, are there some that I could create and manage like super fast and easy?
Christian: Yeah. Um, there's a couple easy ways to do it today and you can get them pretty quickly. One way could be like on your social profiles. So going through your social, making sure your business has social profiles and putting your link in the bio's and linking that back to your website, or even posting on your socials and linking that back to your blog. And something like that can work.
Rich: Okay. So taking my social media that I control completely and just making sure that that URL back to my site is in there. Uh, what about posting my social media? Like when I post a blog post in there, that link obviously is on Facebook or Twitter and it points back to my website. That's good, right?
Rich: Okay. So consistent posting and using your own material is good as well.
Rich: Cool. Um, outside of like social media. I know, I know we are really big. You've been talking about our SEO which needs help and we're working on it. Um, marketers are always the last to do their own thing, the last to drink their own Kool-Aid.
Um, but like we have links on the chamber website, for [00:09:00] instance, uh, that helps probably not as much as like a Forbes or maybe even a Facebook, but, um, anything that's like a quality place can help. Right?
Rich: Cool. So what about the flip side? Like what if a bunch of really crappy sites link to my website? Is that going to hurt me? Is Google going to penalize me for that?
Christian: Yeah. So backlinks are really important, especially quality ones. But having like some spammy ones or when Google sees that, they'll see that maybe using black, a black hat, SEO tactics to get these and a large amount of spam backlinks to your website can pretty much tell Google that your website. You're not really earning your backlinks, but maybe you're using a different way of getting back links and it can come up with spammy, and then it can penalize you and then make you... Maybe even get penalized, not even rank at all for the keywords that you're trying to rank for. And so it can really help you, but it can also hurt you depending on how, how high-quality your backlinks are
Rich: so it kind of like back in the day, when people were buying followers on Instagram and buying followers on Twitter and stuff, they weren't [00:10:00] real, they didn't help your metrics at all. They just were. They looked good because you had 10,000 followers, but 9,500 of them were fake and Google sees that and they understand that. So like link, farm sites, they just have a whole bunch of links to places, um, or anything like that. So what can you do? Like, obviously there are tools to tell you who's back linking to you, right? We use a few of those here. Um, what can I do if I find out that there's a whole bunch of spammy sites linking to my side and I didn't go do it, they just did it on their own. They scraped and found me and threw it out there
Christian: Yeah, if you have a lot of those the bad. And like low-quality backlinks. You can just disavow those links. Pretty much, you, you upload a, something to Google it's pretty easy they have it on there on a help page and you upload it to Google and pretty much. Telling them that you don't really want to associate with these backlinks. And so, pretty much you're saying that you don't want them, they don't really matter to your website and then it will help Google pretty much take those out on how they rank your website.
Rich: Yeah. So basically saying like all of this stuff, isn't something that we [00:11:00] did, you know, Google disavow these, don't penalize us for these things. Um, cool. All right. So. What got you interested in back links?
Christian: Yeah, so I took a course. Um, my senior year in the fall was taught by no one other than you, Rich Mackey. Um, and in that course, we talked a little bit, we went into SEO a little bit, and part of that was back links and learning about what back links are and how, why they're important.
And that really got me interested in SEO as a whole. And then in the spring of my senior year, I went and did some SEO for an external client and then did some backlink building for them. And it's something that. It's one of the biggest things in SEO. So if you hear SEO, you're probably going to hear about back links and, um, that's pretty much what I do today. I mean, I have different tactics that I use for clients today.
Rich: Okay. Cool. Um, yeah. And so you see, backlinks is one of the big ways to like increase your SEO rank is getting those quality backlinks. So they're hard to do so it's a hard level [00:12:00] of effort, but it's also a high-impact tactic um, you know, versus just making sure I've got, you know, really good URL structure, like that's important, but it's super easy to do and probably not as impactful or effective.
Got it. Um, so, okay, so. You know, back from getting backlinks can be hard. So how do I do this? Do I just email a website and say, Hey, I like your website. You seem to be quality link to my site, please.
Christian: Yeah. I wish it worked like that. You probably won't get a back link from that, but there's different ways that you can do it. Um, there's a lot of ways, um, some ways, a quick ways that we do are things like guest posting. You know, finding a relevant blog in your industry and asking them to write a blog post for them, it's a mutually beneficial agreement. You're giving them content and they linked back to your website. another way, it could be on link mentions
so going through and looking at different places where you were mentioned online, if they're not already linking to, you can ask them to link to your website and that other way it could be like, um, going on to Google images and then putting some, some images that [00:13:00] you own that you took on your website.
And finding where if people are using your own images and not linking at your website, asking them to link back to your website, Or just take it down. So there's a, there's a few easy ways and a few hard ways, but we'll get into one that's called broken link building. Um, it's pretty complicated. So
Rich: yeah, I want to get into that next. So, uh, you know, you talk about 404 backlinks, which they can be called broken link building. What does that mean? Like obviously I know what a broken link is and what a 404 error is, it's content that is gone. How does that work with backlinks?
Christian: Yeah, so pretty much, um, some websites have 404 pages that let's say were old blog posts, and now they're 404 pages. Maybe they got deleted or something happened. Well, sometimes these pages have links, websites that are linking to their, to their own 404 pages and a way to like benefit for you is putting maybe similar competition's websites into an, uh, crawling software and looking through all their 404 pages.
See who is linking to these 404 pages. And asking the people that are looking to them to link to your website instead because yours [00:14:00] are 404 pages maybe you have content that's similar to those 404 pages. And having those websites linked to your content of the 404 page
Rich: okay. Sounds a little complex. So let me see if I get that and can break it down. And I go back to our Forbes examples. So I'm roofing company A and Forbes is linking to my blog post in an article they wrote about like metal roofs or something. We know those things exist. Um, I decide like I moved my blog or I decided for whatever reason to delete that bad blog posts now Forbes has a 404 error in this older article that they're linking to, you know, my site, you know, roofing company, A so you're roofing company B and you do a crawl or you, you know, I guess it would be a crawl kind of a thing. Right? You use a tool to search and look for 404 errors. You find this 404 errors on Forbes, and you've got content about metal roofs that was similar to mine. Or maybe you don't, maybe you write content, right? Like that's a valid thing too, is you're like, oh, Hey, like I should write a piece of content [00:15:00] and then send them a link.
So basically you'd reach out to Forbes and say, You got a 404 error on this article. I noticed that the link is missing. I've got the same content here. You know, you can link to my content. So you don't have a 404 error. Wow it does like a lot of work to get like, cause you want hundreds of these eventually.
Right? Um, do you think it gets easier? Like, so say Forbes like was like, oh wow, thank you, Mr. Roofer. By the way, we do a lot of roofing articles. Do you think they would then be more apt to like use my site as a reference in the future with articles,
Christian: Yeah, yeah. I think that's a great resource for them to do that.
Rich: And I know we have one client at least two, uh, who writes for Forbes. So he actually writes blog posts for Forbes that are published on Forbes. About one of the things we noticed was Forbes wasn't linking back to his website, not even to an author page or anything when he was there. So that was the second question we had, he's got a relationship already with Forbes. Um, so.
Use it like ask, like if you don't ask you don't ever get it. Right. Exactly. [00:16:00] Um, cool. So can you go a little bit more into how, like somebody would find these 404 errors?
Christian: What we do, we use a site called SEMrush for S-E-M rush, and we pretty much audit any competitor website and just put it in. We'd go through what pages were indexed. And there's a little checkbox that says broken pages. So you can filter all the index pages that are broken. And then when you do that, you can see all the broken pages and you can see all the people that are back linking to those pages and then clicking on those back links. Seeing maybe you, maybe you see like a blog post, that's a four page that has a lot of back links Maybe you have a blog post that's similar to that. And you can ask these people that are back linking to the blog post and link to yours and stuff. Pretty simple, but it's complicated in terms.
Rich: Okay so software helps, right? Great. Or just, you know, hire a great agency and they'll do it for you. Cool. So does it actually work? Like, can you see some really good traffic to your site? Or have you seen this? I know you did it with, uh, an internship that you had, um, when it we've been [00:17:00] doing it a little bit for clients as we kind of get rolling with it, um, does it work?
Christian: Definitely. Yeah. I believe it works. It takes time. Just like anything else you do with SEO, but just doing it repeatedly over and over again, and just finding these high quality sites that you could potentially target will help you in the end.
Rich: Yeah, and I would imagine, so you can just use even your Google analytics to look at who's like where your traffic's coming from and see if any of these sites are starting to pop up. They're just on pure traffic, let alone SEO, because I mean, ideally you'd want somebody to click through and fill out a form and hire you.
So there's lots going on with backlinks. There's lots going on with these 404 or broken back links. Um, if someone listening really wanted to get started like today, what's the very first thing they need to do.
Christian: Well, the first thing I would do, or you should do is compare to compare how many backlinks you have to, what your competitors have. They're having a lot more than you, and you see that they're ranking for more keywords than you. Then you can see where your main problem is. Another thing you can do is put in one of your target keywords in Google and look at the top five listings [00:18:00] on there to see how many backlinks they have and how many quality backlinks and compare that to how many backlinks you have. And just see maybe you have some opportunity to grow and then, um, yeah, it just takes time just to get on that first page of Google.
Rich: Okay. So the first thing is to kind of assess how things are like, if you're pretty much even with your competition, then you might have opportunity to skip ahead of them. If they're way ahead of you. Like, my competition has 2-300 backlinks and I've got like five. I really need to think about this and work out. Um, very cool. All right. Anything else we should know about backlinks? Anything we haven't talked about?
Christian: Um, in the end, really I'm having a lot of large number of backlinks is important, but making sure that they're quality backlinks is the most important thing. Thats pretty much it.
Rich: All right, cool. So, yeah, so it sounds to me like, you know, assess the situation, figure out what's going on. And then if you want to get into these backlinks, um, the easiest way would probably be to find partnerships you already have or control. You already have a, it could be a chamber. It could be your clients.
It could be a membership that [00:19:00] you're in or a national society. That type of thing. Or, you know, go out and forge partnerships like identify sites, like Forbes has been mentioned a few times. They don't pay anything. We don't endorse them necessarily, but it's just a good one. That's out there. They have a lot of content that, that comes back and they use a lot of third parties, The Huffington Post be another one that was very similar and a lot of people who've used, but find those partners where you can actually establish a relationship and get some ongoing backlinks from, you know, maybe five or six. Big quality sites to start building things. So you're not building 200 relationships.
You're building 10 relationships in each one of those kicking out, you know, maybe 10 backlinks. We're very cool. Thank you, Christian, for joining us today. And, uh, I think I learned a ton about back links. I know a little bit, I know enough to be dangerous with it. Um, but really appreciate it. Thank you.
Christian: Thanks for having me.
Rich: This week's back link. Quick tip is the fastest and easiest way to get yourself back links. So Christian mentioned this in the interview, but the number one thing you can [00:20:00] do is go to your social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, whatever you've got out there, Google business page, which you should have for SEO anyway, and make sure all of those link back to your website. So that's the number one way to get fast. Uh, and you can get five or six of them really quickly. High-quality high traffic, um, by linking your website to your social media.
That's it for another episode of cocktails, tangents, and answers.
Catelin: We hope you enjoyed listening, we enjoyed recording and this week's cocktail.
Rich: You can find me on Twitter or Instagram at Rich Mackey. I try not to make it too difficult. It's just my name. And you can find our agency at antidote_71.
A N T I D O T E underscore seven one on Twitter and Instagram as well.
Catelin: And you can find me at home sipping a craft cocktail prepared by my in-home bartender it's my husband.
Rich: We'll be back next week with another episode and a [00:21:00] whole new cocktail recipe, plenty, more tangents. And of course, answers to those pressing marketing questions.
Catelin: And if you'd like to send us a question, you can go to CTApodcast.live to get in touch,
Rich: or you can call our hotline at 402-718-9971 and leave us a voicemail. Your questions might be used for future episodes of the podcast
Catelin: For now, like, and subscribe, and we'll see you next week.